PARKLAND, Fla. (Reuters) – A 19-year-old gunman returning to a Florida high school the place he had as soon as been expelled opened hearth with an assault rifle on Wednesday, killing 17 individuals and wounding greater than a dozen others earlier than he was arrested, authorities stated.
The taking pictures at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a placid, middle-class group about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami, ranked because the second-deadliest act of gun violence ever on a U.S. public school campus.
The assault started shortly earlier than the school’s dismissal.
Television footage confirmed pictures, more and more acquainted in America, of bewildered college students streaming out of the constructing with fingers raised within the air, weaving their manner between closely armed, helmeted law enforcement officials, as a fireplace truck and different emergency autos idled close by.
Florida’s two U.S. senators, briefed by federal legislation enforcement officers, stated the assailant wore a gasoline masks as he stalked into the school carrying a rifle, ammunition cartridges and smoke grenades, then pulled a fireplace alarm, prompting college students and workers to pour from their school rooms into hallways.
“There the carnage began,” Senator Bill Nelson informed CNN. Senator Marco Rubio gave the same account on Twitter.
A chilling cellphone video clip broadcast by CBS News confirmed a short scene of what the community stated was the taking pictures in progress from inside a classroom, the place a number of college students have been seen huddled or mendacity on the ground surrounded by largely empty desks. A fast sequence of loud gunshots are heard amid hysterical screaming and somebody yelling, “Oh my God.”
The gunman was arrested later exterior, far from the school in an adjoining group. CNN, citing legislation enforcement sources, stated the gunman tried to mix in with college students who have been fleeing the school however was noticed and brought into custody.
He was recognized as Nikolas Cruz, who beforehand attended the high school and was expelled for unspecified disciplinary causes, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel stated at a information briefing hours later.
As a high school freshman, Cruz was a part of the U.S. military-sponsored Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp program at the school, in line with Jillian Davis, 19, a current graduate and former fellow JROTC member at Stoneman Douglas High.
SUSPECT RECOUNTED AS TROUBLED YOUTH
In an interview with Reuters, Davis recalled his “strange talking sometimes about knives and guns,” including, “no one ever took him seriously.”
Chad Williams, 18, a senior at Stoneman Douglas, described Cruz as “kind of an outcast” who was recognized for unruly habits at school, together with a penchant for pulling false hearth alarms, and was “crazy about guns.”
The gunman surrendered to police with no battle, Israel stated. He was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and had a number of magazines of ammunition.
“It’s catastrophic,” Israel stated. “There really are no words.” Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie known as it “a horrific situation,”
Twelve of the dead have been killed contained in the school, two others simply exterior, yet another on the road and two different victims died from their wounds at a hospital, Israel stated. He stated the victims comprised a combination of scholars and adults.
The sheriff stated at a briefing after darkish that investigators had thus far positively recognized simply 12 of the dead, together with a soccer coach he didn’t identify.
Authorities at two close by hospitals stated they have been treating 13 survivors for bullet wounds and different accidents, 5 of whom have been listed in crucial situation.
The Valentine’s Day bloodshed within the racially various Miami suburb of gated communities with palm- and shrub-lined streets was the newest outbreak of gun violence that has turn out to be a daily prevalence at colleges and school campuses throughout the United States over the previous a number of years.
It was the 18th taking pictures in a U.S. school thus far this 12 months, in line with gun management group Everytown for Gun Safety. That tally contains suicides and non-injury incidents, in addition to a January taking pictures wherein a 15-year-old gunman killed two fellow college students at a Kentucky, high school.
Wednesday’s violence marks the second-greatest lack of life from a taking pictures at a U.S. public school, after the 2012 bloodbath of 20 first-graders and 6 educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, by a gunman who additionally killed his mom and himself.
It is also the deadliest ever at an American high school, surpassing the 1999 rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, the place two youngsters killed 12 college students and a instructor earlier than taking their very own lives.
Staff and college students informed native media hearth alarm went off across the time the taking pictures began, sparking chaos as some three,300 college students at the school first headed into hallways earlier than academics herded them again into school rooms.
One survivor, Kyle Yeoward, 16, a junior, informed Reuters he and about 15 fellow college students and a instructor hid in a closet for practically two hours earlier than police arrived. Yeoward stated a lot of the taking pictures occurred within the constructing for the school’s freshman class.
Anguished mother and father checked on their kids.
“It is just absolutely horrifying. I can’t believe this is happening,” Lissette Rozenblat, whose daughter goes to the school, informed CNN. Her daughter known as her to say she was protected however had heard the cries of an individual who was shot.
The school had just lately held a gathering to debate what to do in such an assault, Ryan Gott, a 15-year-old freshman, informed CNN.
“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting,” U.S. President Donald Trump stated on Twitter. “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
The school, named for a famed Florida environmental activist and creator, was to stay closed for the remainder of the week, training officers stated.
Additional reporting by Steve Gorman, Dan Whitcomb and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; Letitia Stein in Detroit and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Writing by Scott Malone and Steve Gorman; Editing by Tom Brown, Lisa Shumaker & Simon Cameron-Moore